2007-04-22: It's A Small World...

Starring:

Jonathan_icon.gif Elle_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: A simple evening turns into a second chance at romance for Jonathan, but ends up in a reality check. Peter Petrelli reveals another which show that, indeed, the Dark Future is pretty grim.

Date It Happened: April 22nd, 2007

It's A Small World…


Downtown, NYC - Noodle Heaven

The evening is a bit steady at Noodle Heaven, and Jonathan is sitting near one of the windows with his favorite sandwich, the cheesesteak baguette, off to the side on the table next to his drink while he works on a laptop. He's got his normal glasses on, and is sitting alone, completely oblivious to what is going on. One of the servers comes by to ask him how his food is. He doesn't look up, just smiling and nodding at her.

Elle makes her own way into the sandwich shop. The blonde has dressed down today. Well, dressed down for her. Snug jeans, ocean-blue t-shirt, 3" wedge sandals. She moves in and starts up towards the counter to order her sandwich.

Jonathan remains glued to what he's going at his table, fingers from the left hand flying deftly over the laptop keyboard while he reaches for his sandwich with the right hand and takes a bite. He takes another quick bite before setting the sandwich down. He looks up for a moment before shutting the laptop and going up to the counter to grab a bag of chips. He looks over and sees Elle and pulls his glasses off to stare at her curiously. "Elle, right?", he asks, attempting to get her attention.

Elle looks over as she hears her name, and it takes a moment. "Oh, hey there." The other night. The bar. A coy smile. "I don't have a stalker, do I?" she teases.
All channels have been gagged.

"If I wasn't afraid that you'd whip out that stungun on me, I think I might be tempted to do it.", he says, smiling. He hands over a dollar to the cashier for the bag of chips and looks back to Elle with a smile. "My table is free if you're sticking around to eat.", he offers.

Elle chuckles, and holds up her hands, wiggling her fingers. "No stungun. Nothing up my nonexistent sleeves." She gets her sandwich, then starts over towards his table with her tray.

Jonathan puts his laptop into a small case by his chair when she sits down and he settles into the seat across the table. "What unimaginable luck running into you here.", he says, putting his glasses into his shirt pocket. "How are things with you and the man you are seeing?"

Elle sits down and smiles. "Things are going well, thanks." She just has a simple club sandwich and a diet soda. "Yourself? Everything good in the computer business?"

"It's alright. I made a few good trades today and earned enough money to afford to buy some lady a drink over at the Fly by Night and find out she had to leave like five minutes later.", he says with an amused grin. "I figured at that point that I'd console myself with a good sandwich before I went back to my apartment. I'm still waiting for some of the new furniture to come in, so it doesn't feel like home yet.", he says, taking a sip of his soda.

The blonde laughs a little at that. "That could be kind of a harsh turndown. You just moved into the area then?" She asks him. "I figured you for a New Yorker. Or are you a Silicon Valley type?"

Jonathan smiles. "Hometown homegrown out of Salt Lake City, but I just moved here from California.", Jonathan says, leaning back in his seat. "Besides, Silicon Valley types are married to the work. Myself, I live for thrills, beautiful women, and setting my own hours. I keep my cell phone on silent.", he says, taking a bite of his sandwich. "Couldn't do that with normal computer work. Plus, it doesn't pay the kind of money I'm used to making."

Elle grins a little. "And so now you're a day trader. Sounds…well, honestly, sounds a little dull. But then, high finance isn't my thing."

Jonathan laughs. "A day trader, eh? Well, I deal with specific commodities and I keep it a bit interesting. You mentioned that you work for dad, right? What kind of work do YOU do?", he asks.

Elle considers how to answer that. "Little of this, little of that. Glorified go-fer." she smiles. "Whatever he needs done, really." She sips her soda. "But I get to travel now and again, and I enjoy it."

That's the secret.", he says, nodding. "Enjoying what you do. One of the reasons I do what I do is because it allows me to travel. Pretty much wherever I want to go, the Internet is everywhere. If I wanted, I could just spring for a trip to Rio or Cancun, go, and still get things done if I wanted to.", he says. Sure, it's a pathetic attempt, but the odds of meeting someone randomly again in a city as large as New York is too rare to let a good thing possibly slip by.

Elle's cell rings, and she flips it open, giving Jonathan the "one second" look, holding up a single finger.

PHONE: You overhear Elle saying, "Everything's fine. I'm down at Noodle Heaven. I got hungry and went out for a sandwich." into her phone.
PHONE: You overhear Elle saying, "Sure! I'll see you soon." into her phone.

Elle puts her phone away. "Sorry about that. The boyfriend calling to see where I was."

Jonathan smiles on the outside, nodding, but on the inside, he couldn't be any more annoyed. Whoever this guy is that she's dating, he's probably some asshole who doesn't appreciate her. All of the incredibly attractive ones end up with a guy like that. "At least he cares, right?", he asks rhetorically, taking another bite into his sandwich.

Elle smiles. "He does." Okay, so she gets just a little moony over the concept. She sips her Diet Pepsi and takes a bite of the sandwich. "And yeah, the travel part's been fun, though I get the feeling I'm probably going to be in New York for the next while. Never can be sure, but it'll probably work that way."

It's hard to keep that little sigh of resignation come through as he sees her reaction and the fact that she's obviously completely into this other guy. That's strike #2 for the evening for Jonathan, and he finishes his sandwich a bit faster now, seeking to move on to the next hopeful and rid his mind of the fetchingly blonde Elle. "I resolved that I was going to find myself someone to fly on the plane with me the next time I went traveling, so. Gotta keep hoping. Any cute friends?", he asks, wiping his mouth with a napkin.

The blonde considers. "Actually, yes. If you like musicians. Or lawyers." Jane she'll hook up. Candice, never. She'd have to NOT like a guy to set him up with Candice. Not that she doesn't like the brunette…but like Elle, she has a habit of breaking her toys.

The door opens suddenly to admit a man mostly in black, a long dark coat, single black long sleeve shirt, and a pair of jeans. There's one thing messing up all this black, though, and that's signs of paint splatter on his jeans, coat, and even ones on his chin and nose that he must have missed seeing. Dark colors all, blacks and dark blues. Oh, and stray white furs all over his coat, too. Peter glances around the oddly named sandwich shop, for a specific face, and then walks over when he spots her. Besides the paint in various locations, he also looks paler than Elle would be used to, tension lining his jaw and temples.

"I'll give anyone a chance as long as they're interesting and open-minded.", he says, munching on some of his chips as Peter Petrelli walks up. Look at this dude, Jonathan thinks to himself. Did you roll around in the street before you showed up here? Nice emo look, though. Jonathan says, "Something I can help you with?"

The blonde looks up, and sees Peter. There's the brief smile…and then the confused look at the paint, which transitions right into a worried look. "What's going on?" she says, suddenly all-business.

GAME: Peter has rolled ABSORPTION and got a result of AVERAGE.

"Hey, no— I'm with her," Peter says, raising a hand. At this point it's even more obvious he has paint on him. He didn't wash his hands when he left. Even the puppy at home probably has paint on her, at this rate. "I've been— painting is all. I'll explain later…" he glances towards the young man and… watches him an instant. "Sorry, was I interupting something?"

"I was just remarking to Elle here that she was lucky to have a man who appreciates her.", Jonathan responds, meeting Peter's glance in that sort of male way as the two would engage in that millennia-old dance to establish dominance. "Jonathan.", he says, tossing off a quick salute. "Hope you don't mind if we don't shake hands."

The blonde looks concerned, still, and then says "I was just getting a sandwich." She stands, her eyes looking at him worriedly. "Peter, this is Jonathan, Jonathan, this is my boyfriend Peter." Just so everyone knows who everyone is.

"Nice to meet you, Jonathan," Peter repeats the name. "Thank you," for the nice comment. He actually seems somewhat sheepish. It doesn't seem as if he's very good at playing this age old game, because his eyes drift away from the hint of a staredown and look towards his hand, "Yeah, sorry about that. I— it's mostly dry now, but I definitely won't blame you." Mmm. Looking towards his girlfriend again avoids the eye-contact with the other man, "I might join you for a sandwich, but I'll need to go wash my hands first. I'll be right back." And with that said, he starts weaving his way towards the men's room, leaving them alone again. For now. Just watch him get weirded out by the motion activated hand drier.

Jonathan looks down at his watch as Peter walks away to go wash his hands. "Wow. It's just about that time, I guess. Get out of the way and give you some alone time with the boyfriend.", he mentions, standing up and grabbing his laptop bag. "Give me a call sometime if your friend would like to go out on a date. I'm still meeting new people, and if I don't have a chance with you, beautiful girls tend to flock together.", he says with a grin. "Do you still have my number?"

Elle nods to Jonathan. "Still have the number." she nods. "I'll talk to her and see what she says. Promise." She offers a smile, but is clearly distracted with boyfriend-concern.

"Take it easy on the guys, Elle.", he says with a smile before grabbing his soda and making his way out of the restaurant.

It doesn't take too long for Peter to wash most of the paint off of his hands, and he even takes the time to get it off his nose and chin too. When he returns, he's looking a little calmer, and notices the lack of 'other guy'. "He wasn't one of your… friends from work was he?" He has to ask. He doesn't see her talking to people too often.

Elle shakes her head as she looks back to Peter. "No. He's the man I met at the bar the other night. The one who bought me the drinks."

"…the one you danced with?" Peter asks cautiously, glancing off towards the door the man must have left from for a long moment. Possibly, if he'd known this, he would have kept eye contact better. "And you just ran into him here? Small town…" He adds, before he looks back towards the counter and orders a sandwich for himself, specifically a wrap of some kind.

Elle nods. "He was here getting a sandwich when I came in. Her own sandwich is on the table still, only a single bite taken out of it. So we talked, briefly."

"Okay," Peter says with a nod, watching her quietly, and not exactly looking jealous, but… aware. "I believe you. Just— seems people keep running into each other in this city, you know? Is an island, though, bound to run into everyone on it sooner or later." Getting a drink, which is a lemonade, he also accepts his wrap and moves to sit down with her. He'd not been too far away at the counter, but this is more intimate.

Elle nods. She looks back at him. "All right…now spill." Her voice is pitched lower so as not to be overheard. "What's -really- going on, Peter?"

There's a sigh, and Peter lays down his wrap untouched and pulls out his cellphone. Flicking it open, he thumbs through some buttons, and then turns the phone around. On the display window there's a photograph of a canvas painting.

A landscape, desolate and bleak, with no blue sky or yellow sun. In their place, there are dark clouds obscuring natural light, and liquid shadows reach out like wicked tentacles over Times Square. Windows of skyscrapers are shattered, walls crumbling. There are no cars, as the streets had been blocked off, as evidenced by barriers in the background of the painting; posters and banners tell of a rally, some citing propositions that will be unfamiliar to anyone likely to see the painting. What is most disturbing, however, is the audience of this rally. The streets and sidewalks of Times Square are littered not with forgotten garbage but with the lifeless bodies. There's a hint that something might have been lower than that, but the image doesn't go that far.

"I painted this less than an hour ago."

Elle frowns. "Wonderful." she says, looking at the painting. Her eyes sweep it for any clues. Obviously Times Square…she looks for anything that might give a date.

The picture's too small to really give exact details, but can possibly be blown up later. "I don't know when it is, but— I was hoping to get some clue to where Sylar was, what he'd do next. I didn't think I'd get— something like this." Peter shakes his head, looking pale again. And he keeps his hand on the cellphone, allowing her to look as close as he wants, but not handing it over.

Elle nods. She recognizes the consequences of it, of course. "We'll need to do an analysis. Where's the actual painting?" She's kind of gone businessy-worried now.

"I don't have it with me, and it's not at the apartment," Peter answers softly, folding the phone up and moving to put it away. "It doesn't matter where it is. The picture was taken at the highest resolution. We can put it on computer and examine it there." There's something definitely bothered about this. "But— if your still thinking of maybe… leaving. We— we should hold onto this."

Elle's eyes flash with anger. "Excuse me?" she says. "That's not an answer, Peter." She points at the cell phone. "And that is not a joke, or anything to be taking lightly. Now where. Is. It?"

"No, it's not a joke," Peter says, but he doesn't stop putting the cellphone away. It's the only picture he has right now. "It's at a friend's place. I went there to paint it where I knew I wouldn't be watched."

Elle nods, making the "cycling" motion with her hand…the universal symbol for "go on"."And that friend is?…Peter, we may NEED that original at some point to check for something. This isn't a time for games."

"I'll get the original and bring it home. I couldn't move it because it wasn't dry yet," Peter says, closing his eyes and pressing his hand against his face. "There's someone involved that I want kept out… of certain things, okay? I don't want to make you choose to keep this secret for me. So just let me get it and you can check it then."

The look on the blonde's face is mixed, but none of it's good. Anger. Emotional pain. "So what, you don't trust me now?" she says, her voice tight. "After everything that we've been through?" A distraught expression.

"I trust you," Peter says softly, letting his hand lower and looking her in the eyes, "But you asked me not to make you choose between you and your father." There's a sigh and he reaches to pick up the phone again, turning it on and thumbing through some buttons. There's a sigh. "If I show you this… it's between us." The gamble is when he doesn't wait for a response, and just turns it around. This time there's more to the picture, specifically the bottom portion. There's a woman with brown hair, lifeless blue eyes, and her neck twisted. "I painted it her boyfriend's apartment. The woman in the painting."

The blonde looks at the bottom portion. "Okay…that means her boyfriend knows. But you don't want -her- to know?" she asks. "You gotta fill me in here, Peter."

"No, she was there too," Peter says, letting her hold the phone if she wants now. Nothing more to hide. "She knows. She made me promise not to show anyone. She didn't want people to worry. You don't know her— so that promise doesn't apply. But… I don't want your father to know about it."

Elle frowns. "Only as long as I think we're on top of it." she answers. "Peter, this is -way- bigger than us. And you said it yourself. My father has more resources than we do. If it doesn't look like you and I…and anyone we bring in…are going to be able to stop this, then we have to tell him. It's too important, Peter."

"That's what the contract is for," Peter says, voice still soft, almost subdued. As if she's browbeaten him effortlessly. "If it comes to that— if we go with it— it's what your father promised we'd be in charge of— saving the world." And in this new photo, the complete one, it's obvious that there's /hundreds/ of bodies. Not just dozens. "I'd say this qualifies."

Elle nods. "I agree. I'm not going to just run off and tell him, Peter. Not unless it looks like things are so far out of control that we CAN'T stop it. The woman's in the foreground." She nods to it. "That means she's important. Who is she?"

"Her name is Cass Aldric," Peter explains, keeping his voice soft, and whispered, but being clear about it. "She's the owner of Enlightenment Books, the place you can find Chandra Suresh's book always in stock— the place that's been collecting names and numbers— they have yours," From the time she stopped in, feinted innocent about her powers, and then gave her number, "And mine. She's normal, but— she has science and medical training, and she's interested in Suresh's theories." There's some hesitation, as if he knows he's stepping out on a shaky limb saying this much, but… he said he trusted her. "She's helped me with my telepathy, and will likely help me get a better grasp on my other abilities too."

The blonde nods. "Okay…" she says, looking thoughtful. "So somehow she's involved, and probably because of all this collecting names and numbers and training people." Elle looks thoughtful. "Can I go talk to her? I mean, I'll stay back if you want me to, but even without talking to Daddy, I have been trained in things like this."

"It's possible, yeah," Peter admits, finally turning the phone around to look at the other bodies. Only one can be identified, but so many of them could be people he /knows/. People connected to Cass. "Let me talk to her first, but yeah, I'm sure you can. Not really sure what all you could ask… But you do have training. I just painted it. And want to stop it from happening in any way I can." Not just for the woman he recognizes, either. For the hundreds he doesn't.

Elle nods. She considers. "Who else can we bring in on this? If we're not bringing in Daddy or the Company…who of -our- people can we bring in to help?"

"The people who tried to break me out," Peter suggests, looking across at her for a long moment. "Jane and Nathan, for sure. I trust them. The ones I had been planning to bring in on the whole… contract. That wasy if we need to go to your dad, they're already involved."

Elle nods. She takes a deep sigh, and blows it out. "Here, email me a—" She stops. "No. Let me go pick up a flash drive, and we'll put a copy of the picture on it." I don't trust the Company not to be checking up on my cell phone."

There's a long look across the table, and Peter's forgotten all about his wrap. As the phone is closed, so the file can be transfered over later, he speaks very softly, "Thank you." The way he says those words almost resonate with the exact same tone as a declaration of affection. "I'm sorry that I tried to hide it from you." Whatever reasons, it's a moot point now.

Elle smiles a little. "Better be." she says, putting up a spunky front to hide the fact that she almost was crying earlier. "What would you do without me, after all?" There's an impish grin there, banishing the last of the solemnity.

"I'd still be in a cell taking drugs," Peter says with a hint of a smile, knowing that it would likely be true. Reaching, he tries to claim her hand. "The banners alone mean we have some time— I don't know of any demonstrations of that size that would be shutting down Time Square, at least. Guess we can wrap up the rest of our food and take it to the apartment… finish eating there."

Elle squeezes his hand. "That's a plan." Her own sandwich is sitting there barely touched. "Kinda forgot about food in the aftermath of all that." The tiny blonde grabs up her food, and looks over to Peter. "Come on. Let's get home. I want a computer at hand to research, too."

"I have a computer, but I haven't got internet hooked up again yet," Peter admits, though it's something she'd already know. He doesn't even have a lot of television channels on the small TV he has in the bedroom for some strange unorthodox reason. Living in the stone age. "We'll find things to work with, though." Like the painting, and then they can go to the library, get into a WIFI connection, or something. Grabbing his food, he moves to join her, reaching again to touch her arm.

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